Added by Katie Kessel
Breathtaking hike outside Melbourne at the start of the Grampians Peaks Trail offering views of Halls Gap, Mt William, and Fyans Valley.
Starting in the town of Halls Gap, leave your car in the car park indicated on the map. From here, make your way west, away from the town and towards the forest. You will walk past the botanical gardens and wild kangaroos to the start of the trail. At the start of the trailhead, there is a fork. Follow the path right, following the signs to the Venus Baths and through the Grand Canyon. Follow the river until you come upon a junction. Here, you can take a small <5 minute detour to Splitters Falls (the right of the fork), a small waterfall.
Pick the trail back up, heading left, and hike through the Grand Canyon, where there is a newly-constructed trail through beautiful rock formations on the way up to the Pinnacle. The view from the Pinnacle is breathtaking, with views of the entire valley. This is the end of the more popular portion of the trail.
From the Pinnacle, follow trail markers along the ridge through more exposed rock formations south to Lakeside Lookout and Sundial Carpark. The trail leads away from the cliff's edge, then comes back to offer more beautiful views of the valley. At this point, you can often see and hear advanced rock-climbers on the cliff below the lookouts.
The remainder of the hike trails through gorgeous vegetation until you reach Bugiga Hikers Camp. The camp itself has newly-constructed tent pads, perched above the valley with impressive views of Mt Rosea.
We took several hours to enjoy the camp. Even during our May (late-autumn) trip to the camp, the camp filled up quickly with hikers looking to escape the city.
On the way back the next day, retrace your steps. Once at the Pinnacle, you have two options to make your way back down to Halls Gap. You can walk back the way you came or follow the trail markers to the right, which takes you down the original trail. Rather than hiking back through the Grand Canyon, this trail walks you along the valley through the trees until you reach the valley floor. I recommend this route on the way back as it offers different scenery and even more spectacular views of the valley. As well, we didn't see anyone on our way back (though we did run into a kangaroo that wasn't the slightest bit scared of us and more interested in his lunch).
If you're interested, take a look at the link below, which has more specific instructions on the trail and permits:
- Sleeping supplies (tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad)
- Warm clothes if not hiking in the summer for nighttime (it gets cold!) and extra socks
- Snacks, breakfast, dinner (and a stove with fuel)
- Pots, plates, and cutlery
- Waterbottle and water treatment method
- First aid kit, flashlight, knife
- MEC's Backpacking Checklist
If you're just starting out, I recommend to get lightweight and compressible gear whenever possible.
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